Innovative Economy Ecosystem
The overall objective of INECO project is to address a broader innovative ecosystem in the cross border area, by creating two pre-incubating structures, in order to encourage new entrepreneurs and teams to prepare and test their business ideas under real conditions before taking business risk.The project area in the Greek-Albanian frontier is characterized by predominantly small and micro enterprises with poor performance in clustering, technological development and innovation. However, a growing pool of highly-educated university graduates, coupled with potential for incorporation of innovation into productive processes within a fledgling Startup Scene and momentum, has given rise to an entrepreneurial spirit throughout the area. INECO will develop two co-working spaces and support services to teams of people with innovative ideas, helping them mature towards their integration with the business world. More specifically, the teams will be supported to: (a) develop a business model (b) access the market for their ideas overcoming the so called “death valley” and (c) seek seed funding or risk capital. The two co-working spaces that are to be created; one in Kastoria (Greece) and one in Gjirokastra (Albania), will be able to fully support 15 to 20 teams by providing them a modern working environment with all the flexibility needed to adapt to a variety of different and changing requirements. Coached support will be provided to the hosted teams throughout the time in which the premises will be used. Furthermore, mentoring services will be granted to areas in which the hosted team operates (or intends to operate). In some cases the mentor could be a potential client. The implementation of the INECO is expected to eliminate obstacles for the spin-off process by creating two new pre-incubators. In contrast to a common business incubator, the pre-incubator supports only entrepreneurial projects (“profit-centres”) and not already registered enterprises. In these new facilities, potential entrepreneurs will be enabled to test the marketability of their products prior to the foundation of its own company. The pre-incubator will provide the entrepreneur with assistance and key knowledge on how to run a company. To this end, the project seeks the establishment of a solid and stable platform of cooperation generating economies of scale and providing opportunities to exploit the comparative advantages that the region has to offer. The targets which have been set show consistency with the objectives of the project, they are noticeably measurable, realistic and time based due to the well-structured timetable of the overall project. In this sense, the project is expected to strengthen the competitiveness of the business environment and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. The main target groups involve potential entrepreneurs placing particular emphasis on highly educated young scientists.